Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos (2007)

By Elric on 1:15 PM 21 June 2007

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Dream Theater, the gods of progressive metal are back with their ninth studio work called “Systematic Chaos”. Albums like “Images & Works”, “Awake” and “Metropolis pt II” concerned among the best progressive metal albums. Although after 2002 Dream Theater had a slight decline. “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence”, “Train of Thought” and “Octavarium” were good albums but couldn’t reach the level of “Metropolis”. Besides it’s not easy to surpass perfection. “Systematic Chaos” is their latest to effort to succeed in it.

The title of the album, “Systematic Chaos” indicates the mind condition of Dream Theater. The album opens with “In the Presence of Enemies part I”. The song starts where “Octavarium” ended, but the various sound effects and LaBrie’s voice makes the song much more interesting. In “ForsakenRudess’ melodies are fantastic but the refrain is somewhat ballad-ish something that I believe it is not fit their style.

So far the songs are good but nothing that you don’t expect from Dream Theater. But “Constant Motion” will blow your ears and speakers, Heavy sound, fast riffs and blowing solos. Moreover the voice of James Hetfield ... sorry I mean James LaBrie is amazing. The song reminds me the early days of Metallica (except the technical part). “The Dark Eternal Night” is probably one of the fastest songs that Dream Theater ever recorded. The song contains some core elements (!!) and some effects in voice (!!).

But the are more surprises. Besides the influences of Dream Theater are from Metallica (they have recorded the entire “Master of Puppets” live!!) and Rush, to Radiohead and Muse. “Repentance” talks about Portnoy’s alcohol problems. A slow, mellow song and probably the weakest of the album. “Prophets of War” is letter of protest against the politics of U.S.A. and the Muse influences are clear here. “Ministry of Souls” is a 14 minute song that start as a ballad and transforms into an orgy of solos equal to “Dance of Eternity”. The album closes with “In the Presence of Enemies part II”. An amazing song of 16 minutes with many dark passage and numerous changes in melodies, riffs and, of course, solos!

I will not say anything about the sound. I will not say anything about their music skill also. Just that their instruments are extensions of their bodies. There is also a special version of “Systematic Chaos” that comes with an extra DVD that contains the entire album in 5.1 surround sound and a 90 minute documentary “The making of Systematic Chaos” directed by Mike Portnoy.

I don’t know if they succeeded in surpassing “Metropolis part II” but I am sure that this is the best album Dream Theater released since 1999.

Rating: 90/100

The Band

  • James LaBrie vocals
  • John Petrucci guitars
  • John Myung bass
  • Jordan Rudess keyboards
  • Mike Portnoy drums


  1. In The Presence Of Enemies pt I
  2. Forsaken
  3. Constant Motion
  4. The Dark Eternal Night
  5. Repentance
  6. Prophets Of War
  7. The Ministry Of Lost Souls
  8. In The Presence Of Enemies pt II

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